tv NBC Nightly News NBC November 18, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
on this sunday night, on the brink. an escalating crisis in the middle east. an exchange of deadly strikes kills dozens, including children. can they avert an all out ground war? the vice president gets a close-up look at the ravaged jersey shore while hundreds of homeowners are told for the first time, their homes can't stay. and for shoppers this year , the battle starts earlier than ever. and they call it turkey town. our visit to the place where turkey isn't just a meal, it's a way of life, 365 days a year.
good evening. there are millions of people in israel and the gaza strip who are spending this night living in fear of rockets and missiles raining down on their homes and neighborhoods as outside parties hurriedly work behind the scenes to stop the exchange fire. huge explosions rocked gaza with one strike killing at least 11 people. israel says the targets were palestinian militants, but several of the dead included women and children. but with palestinians continuing to fire rockets into israel and tel aviv in their crosshairs, israel says it is preparing to expand its attacks. we're on the ground on both
sides of this conflict starting with richard engel in gaza. >> reporter: good evening, lester, israel appears to have exceptionally good intelligence about hamas and today was able to target individual militants in their homes, but they're also killing anyone who happens to be around them. this was a three-story house of hamas militants. israel says it's using precision strikes against gaza. >> there were eight people in this house when they were attacked and they have already pulled out three bodies. there was total panic as rescue cr crews gasans feel that israel
what no regard for life. israel warned gazans to stay away from all hamas locations. this man lived next to a hamas police station. now he doesn't have a home. we can expect anything from israelis. mourners for another hamas militant targeted today, witnesses showed up with the shell that killed the young militants. they say it was fired from an israeli ship. and warships fired more rounds. but that volley didn't stop the funeral. more about expressing defiance here than sadness. they're taking this man's 9-year-old niece to be buriey b.
israel wants to eliminate hamas's leadership, but that's coming increasingly as a cost to civilians. >> reporter: this is martin fletcher in tel aviv. more than a hundred strikes from gaza today. half of israel's 3.5 million people are now within range of hamas long range rockets. tel aviv, israel's largest city was attacked for the fourth straight day. saved by the anti- missile defense system which shot down p rockets. less than three miles from the city center, debris fell right on this car. israel says it's intense air attacks on gaza are meant to gel hamas in gaza and not civilians. >> they're using their homes and
their mosques to hide their arms. >> reporter: but the rockets keep coming, leading israel's prime minister to this warning today. the military, benjamin netanyahu, is prepared for significant operations. to maintain secrecy, cell phones have been taken from the soldiers, they're on full alert waiting only for the order to go. and hamas warned, we will be waiting at the entrance for you, we will shred you to pieces. so the question now is what comes first, a ground invasion of gaza with maybe many dead on both sides or a truce. to stop the war in escalating, muslim leaders as well as americans and europeans are worki working feverishly for a truce.
mohammad morsi said today there's a possibility of a cease fire soon. negotiations are in high gear with israel i'ming high. hamas wants israel to stop killing its leaders to end the blockade to gaza, but people are both sides of the border are living in fear. president obama made his first public comments about the crisis today while overseas on a historic three-nation tour of southeast asia, including the first-ever visit by an american president to myian mar. chuck todd is traveling with the president. >> reporter: the president touched down at bangkok on sunday on a three-day whirlwind trip to east asia. he used a joint press congress fence with the prime minister of thailand to strongly support israel's right to defend lisits.
>> there's no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside it's borders. we fully support israel's right to defend itself. >> reporter: the president issues a plea to allies of the palestinians playing on their hope that including a palestinian state next to israel. >> if we see a further escalation of the strikes on gaza, then the likelihood of getting back on any kind of a peace track that leads to any kind of solution is going to be pushed off way into the future. >> reporter: tomorrow the president makes an historic visit to myanmar, a country that just a few years ago was isolated from the world community. president obama defended the trip as some human rights advocates say it's coming too
soon. >> this is not an endorsement of the bermese government, this is an acknowledgement that there is a process underway inside that country. >> reporter: on his last trip with the outgoing secretary of state hillary clinton, president obama expects to meet with leaders again. the two reflected on it during their visit to the monastery. after myanmar, it's off to cambodia. meanwhile back here at home, much of the focus here in washington remains on controversy on what happened in
gaza. >> reporter: on "meet the press," firm denials on benghazi from a top democrat. >> was there a cover-up? do you believe that the president or anybody serving the president deliberately misled the true nature of this attack for political reasons? >> no. >> reporter: former cia director david petraeus left no doubt in his testimony on friday. he said all along that the attack was a terror attack. >> it was terror. that's the point. >> reporter: republicans continued their attack on u.n. ambassador susan rice and her account in the days following the attack that expressed her role in an anti-muslim video. >> the stories he told re-enforced a political narrative helpful to the president. she was the most politically compliant person they could find. i don't know what she told, but
i know the stories she told were miss leading. >> it was one of the most unfair attacks i have ever seen in washington in 34 years, susan rice was using the unclassifies talking points that were provided by the intelligence community. >> somewhere along the line those talk points changed. >> what i do know that every member of the intelligence community says the references to al qaeda were removed by somebody and they don't know who. >> reporter: but the administration denied claims of white house interference and says they made only a minor change. >> there's only one thing that was changed and i checked into this, i believe it to be absolute fact and it was the word consulate was changed to mission. >> reporter: and today lawmakers say they want both the current secretary of state hillary clinton and the woman who may be nominated to succeed her susan rise to come before congress and
explain how they knew how the attack at benghazi was handled. officials begin to amass a full accounting of what was lost during hurricane sandy. another high powered a mission from washington. mi >> reporter: fema estimates nearly $3 billion in aid has already been approved and sent into the pockets of storm victims whose homes were destroyed or damaged like many of those here in breezy point, a massive need for assistance in sandy's wake that is still unfolding. a first look for vice president joe biden today touring sandy ravaged seaside heights in new jersey, a visit hitting close to home. >> as a kid, i spent all my time at the jersey shore. >> reporter: the vice president assured the region, this just
isn't a local responsibility but a national one. he greeted local first responders. the vice president flew over the beach side communities hit by the force of sandy's surge and wind. preliminary findings from fema now underscore the massive loss homeowners have suffered. in new jersey alone, fema estimates more than 73,000 homes and businesses sustained damage and the number is expected to rise. >> in region we' about to walk into now, the water was this high. >> fema is assessing the damage on the ground, home by home. >> we pretty much got a handle on the scope at this time, but as this evolves, we're going to continue to look and address anything else that comes up. >> in a city that hit ocean side
neighbors, feel -- what would you do if somebody came to you and said oh, i think we're going to have to demolish your house, would you fight it? >> yes. >> now fema is trying to find people to tell them their homes are not livable. and today new york city mayor michael bloomberg extended the odd/even license gas rationing through the thanksgiving holiday. new york city building flp fors have already examined 2,000 homes and 900 are tagged with that tag that says seemingly unsafe. rescuers have found the body
of a man floating in the water on friday. one of the four men who suffered burns in the fire is improving and is now in fair condition. another is in serious condition and two remain critical. still ahead, as nbc "nightly news" continues, forget black friday, this year they want you to stop until you drop even before the turkey is digested. and then later, a surprise visitor drops into the sights of hundreds of troops in afghanistan. year again. medicare open enrollment. time to compare plans and costs. you don't have to make changes. but it never hurts to see if you can find better coverage, save money, or both. and check out the preventive benefits you get after the health care law. ♪ open enrollment ends december 7th. so now's the time. visit medicare.gov or call 1-800-medicare.
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with retailers battling to bring in shoppers any way they can. we have more tonight from cnbc's courtney reagan. >> reporter: it's the super bowl of retail. with 147 million shoppers expected, some already waiting on line, best buy and other stores are rehearsing for black friday. >> we got to make sure we are ready to go. >> reporter: because this year holiday sales are expected to rise just over 4%. well below last year's 5.6% gain. >> revenue coming in short of forecast. >> reporter: with the world's largest retailer, walmart, reporting weaker than expected sales are offering bigger promotions and ever earlier hours to get customers into the door. walmart and toys "r" us will open at 8:00 p.m. thanksgiving day. >> we have focus groups who say
what would be the ideal time frame for you, the compelling times were 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. >> to get some good deals. >> reporter: but not everyone is excited about the extra shopping time. >> thanksgiving day should be kept for thanksgiving day. >> reporter: while some debate weather to shop in stores, online sales are expected to surpass $90 billion this holiday season, up 12% from last year. retailers are offering door busting deals to people who download their mobile app or join their mailing list. sears the leading the pack and starting it's online sales today. some of the strategies are having customers buy items online and comes to pick them up in the store hoping they will buy more items in the store. back at best buy, the "countdown" is on.
for the black friday shopping marathon, courtney reagan, cnbc. up next, why some were not impressed by a recent visitor to the oval office. th coverage nee, unitedhealthcare can help you find the right plan. are you looking for something nice and easy? a medicare advantage plan can give you doctor, hospital and prescription drug coverage all in one plan... for nothing more than what you already pay for part b. you'll also have the flexibility to change doctors from a network of providers dedicated to helping you stay healthy. call now to learn more. unitedhealthcare has the information you need so you'll be better prepared when making medicare decisions. maybe you'd just like help paying for your prescriptions. consider a part d prescription drug plan. it may help reduce the cost of your prescription drugs. remember, open enrollment ends friday, december 7th.
you think a personal visit from the usa's fierce five would be enough to thrill even the president of the united states, but let's just say he was not impressed. that's the picture that's got a lot of folks laughing, president obama striking the now famous not impressed pose with olympic gold medalist michaela maroney. she was showing her displeasure at winning silver not gold on her signature event, the vault. nobody was making that not impressed face during a surprise
visit to afghanistan. take a look, 007 himself daniel craig who dropped in on camp bastion to the delight of hundreds of british troops. this weekend his new movie became the most successful bond movie in history. we're about to start the busiest travel week of the year, many are hoping for clear skies and few delays at the airports. julie martin joins us with what we can expect. >> as thanksgiving approaches, here's what we can expect for the millions traveling. we'll see a couple of systems, one in the southeast and one in the northeast. if you're travelinging along the 5, be prepared for rain and wind and snow in those mountain passes. that trend's going to continue on in through tuesday and into the northwest as well. we'll see some light showers on tuesday in michigan. nothing big that will show you down, and wednesday, one of the
biggest travel days of the year traditionally looks pretty good across the u.s., we're just going to have that system in the west to contend with once again. and by thanksgiving day, plenty to be thankful for, we're looking at clear skies for the macy's thanksgiving day parade. and in the midwest, chicago 62 degrees. >> julie martin, thank you. when we come back, a visit to turkey town, u.s.st. of medicare and social security. anncr: but you deserve straight talk about the options on the... table and what they mean for you and your family. ancr: aarp is cutting through all the political spin. because for our 37 million members, only one word counts. get the facts at earnedasay.org. let's keep medicare...
and social security strong for generations to come. i took my son fishing every year. we had a great spot, not easy to find, but worth it. but with copd making it hard to breathe, i thought those days might be over. so my doctor prescribed symbicort. it helps significantly improve my lung function starting within five minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better. and that means...fish on! symbicort is for copd including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. with copd, i thought i'd miss our family tradition. now symbicort significantly improves my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. and that makes a difference in my breathing. today, we're ready for whatever swims our way. ask your doctor about symbicort. i got my first prescription free. call or click to learn more.
finally tonight, as millions of americans give thanks on thank gives, one small community in arkansas will be giving its thanks for the holiday itself. that's because many who earn their livelihood depend on turkeys. >> reporter: it's long be a staple of the thanksgiving feast. so much so, it's fondly call turkey day. many say the holiday just isn't complete -- >> what kind of a thanksgiving dinner is this? where a es the turkey, chuck. >> reporter: it's a question they're not asking in a small community in arkansas. on a map, the town is called z oza ozark, but by it's most famous
export, it's called turkey town, usa. >> turkey is year round. >> reporter: and turkey pays the bills. from the butter ball plant which employs 400, to the area's 76 farmers, who supply a third of the nation's turkeys. >> people all over the country are going to eat these turkeys so i got to take good part of them. >> reporter: in this barn alone, there are more than 11,000 turkeys and mike has three others just like it. these guys are about six weeks old. that's halfway through the growing process. >> this is thanksgiving dinner for every family in america. >> reporter: there's no down time at the plant. only fresh turkeys come off the line now. >> 26 or 27, everybody's pretty tired and dragging. >> reporter: wilma has worked in the turkey industry almost four
years. >> i work there had about eight years. >> reporter: in fact it's hard to find anyone here who doesn't have a connection to it. >> my mom works at butter ball. >> reporter: in a tough economy, a product most americans buy at least once a year keeps the paychecks coming. and a free bird given to the workers doesn't go to waste. what do you eat for thanksgiving dinner? >> turkey, of course. >> reporter: from a small town that runs on turkey. that's nbc "nightly news" for this sunday. brian williams will be here tomorrow. up next, football night in america, followed by sunday night football, the ravens versus the steelers. i'm lester holt reporting from new york, for all of us here at nbc news, good night.